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Tristan Wilder, Dylan Reeves
Tristan Wilder, self-made millionaire and devastatingly handsome CEO of Wilder-Nation is on the verge of a very lucrative buyout. With tough negotiations ahead, he’s armed with his acquisition pitch, ready to launch the deal of a lifetime. There’s just one glitch. The last thing he expects is to fall for the hot business owner he’s trying to sway.
Dylan Reeves, computer science engineer and founder of the very successful social media site, Secret, is faced with a life-altering decision. A devoted family man with three kids and a wife, Dylan has been living a secret for years. Fiercely loyal to his convictions, his boundaries blur after meeting the striking owner of the corporation interested in acquiring his company. For the first time in his life, reckless desire consumes him when the gorgeous computer mogul makes an offer he can’t refuse.
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A sudden flash of blinding light struck seconds before thunder rumbled so strongly the windows rattled in the seventh floor meeting room of Secret Networks’ North Dallas office complex. Dylan Reeves watched as all the attendees’ eyes shot up to the overhead fixtures that flickered wildly. The latest round of thunderstorms raged loudly outside, rocking and shaking the building. And from the ferocious sounds coming from outdoors, it seemed spring planned an early arrival this year.
He held his breath for a full second, waiting to see if the electricity would hold this time or if that strike had been the one to finally cut the lights and leave them sitting in the dark. When the power held, Dylan exhaled a sigh of relief. This meeting was critical to the future of his company, and he needed everyone in complete agreement before leaving for the night.
Every piece of information had been examined numerous times, even before this impromptu meeting had been called, but this decision was just too important to leave to chance. The current silence surrounding the table signified his senior staff’s acceptance of the magnitude of the proposals laid out before them. It wasn’t every day millions of dollars were thrown on the table for the company Dylan and his team had spent years developing.
“So we’re narrowing the offers down to Wilder and Yahoo!?” Rob Jacobs, one of Dylan’s two senior executives asked, breaking the silence.
“Those are the best offers so far. I think our game plan should be to check those companies out first. If they aren’t serious, we can look at Amazon, they’re next in coming close to our asking price,” David Masterson, his other senior executive stated.
Dylan responded more slowly. He sat back in his comfortable leather chair, took a long drink from his water bottle and propped his tennis-shoe-covered feet up on the small office table. The file folder he read from rested in his lap as he continued to thumb through the pages, looking for anything he might have missed. After another lengthy moment of silence, he finally agreed, “Yeah, confirm Wilder for this weekend. Let’s put Yahoo! off until we see what Wilder has to say. They’re the strongest of them all, and they have the technical support policies already in place. If handled right, it should be an easy transition for everyone involved.”
Rob jotted down notes as Dylan spoke, but David was the first to respond. “They’re big enough to absorb our company, plus I like Southern California. I think I’d do well there.”
“Shut-up, dickhead. You’ll jinx the whole deal,” Rob said, still making notes.
“I’m just sayin’ I’d rather live there than Northern California. Out of all of us, I was the one young enough to watch The Hills growing up,” David added, as if that explained anything. He pushed the folder out of the way and reached toward the center of the table to one of two half-eaten boxes of pizza. “Not to mention, when we move to California, we won’t have to deal with this crazy Texas weather.” He grabbed a slice of the cold pizza and took a big bite, reclining back in his chair.
Dylan lifted a hand to head off Rob’s comeback. He looked down at his watch. It was almost seven in the evening. They’d been in this meeting for hours and needed to wrap it up. He dropped his file folder back on the table and stood, looking around for his cell phone to pull up his schedule for the next day to confirm his memory. “I think we have fittings tomorrow morning at Neiman Marcus. Don’t be late.”
“I’m taking this pizza with me,” David said, gathering all the remaining slices into one box. David was the youngest of the three. A true millennial to the core. Since Rob was older, he’d dramatically rolled his eyes at David’s boldness, muttering something about the youth of today. Dylan had heard those same words muttered from Rob to David about a million times since they had started working together.
His assistant, Kim, opened his office door and stuck her head inside the room. She should have been gone hours ago, but she always waited around to make sure he no longer needed her. Actually, most of his staff had the same dedicated attitude. They took care of both him and the company they worked for. In return, Dylan did everything in his power to give back to them. “There’s a call for you, Dylan. It’s pretty urgent. They couldn’t get you on your cell, so they called your backline number.”
He started looking in earnest now, patting the outside of his jeans, feeling for the phone. His eyes scanned the table again. He lifted some of the paperwork, but it wasn’t there. “Who is it?”
She looked sheepish when she replied, “The Highland Park Police Department. I’ll send them to your landline now.”
She retreated as soon as the words were out of her mouth. His heart did a little seize in his chest, and he single-mindedly stalked toward the phone on his desk. It rang, and he reached out, quickly grabbing the receiver and lifting it to his ear. “Dylan Reeves.”
“This is Officer Bradley with the Highland Park Police Department. Are you the father of Chloe Reeves?” he asked in a deeply Southern voice.
He wasn’t certain he hadn’t lost years off his life as he answered that question. “Yes, sir, what’s this about? Is she hurt?”
“She’s fine, sir, but she’s been taken into custody. We need you to come down to the police station.”
“What’s happened?” he asked.
“We’ll explain once you arrive.”
“Is she okay?” Dylan asked, somewhere in the back of his mind he registered David and Rob were now close by, but he ignored them both.
“Sir, as I stated before, she’s fine. Probably a little upset. We’ll explain once you arrive.” The call abruptly ended, giving him no clue as to what had happened to his daughter. He placed the receiver back on the cradle and shoved his hands inside his jeans pocket, searching for his keys. As he dug them out of his pocket, he spotted his cell phone on his desk and grabbed that too.